With the pandemic finally beginning to wane, it is time for long-awaited projects to resume production. There are seemingly about five movies and TV shows being filmed right now, and everyone from Hollywood is in at least one of them. In other words, every project is now a Marvel movie. (Not to be confused with the actual Marvel movies currently being planned, of which there are many.)
The primary repositories of our planet’s most revered stars are two projects in particular: Succession’s long awaited third season and the second installment of the Knives Out franchise.
With each passing day, another critically adored character actor or pop star transitioning into film is announced as the newest cast member of one of these projects. It’s all getting a little tricky to keep track of, so while the Succession crew sets up shop in various luxe corporate hotel lobbies in New York and Knives Out gears up to start production in Greece, we’ve put together a little timeline of how Hollywood’s only two projects came together.
January 14: Sanaa Lathan, Linda Edmond, & Jihae join Succession
After a gloomy, Succession-less year, the third season kicked off production with three new additions: Sanaa Lathan, Linda Emond, and Jihae. Lathan is playing a “high profile well-connected New York lawyer” likely to verbally lacerate each Roy individually whether she’s defending the family or not. Emond is playing a “senior White House aide” who we can only hope is a Kellyanne Conway-esque figure. And K-Pop star Jihae will play Berry Schneider, a “leading public relations consultant” who’s definitely going to do drugs with Kendall and then kill the photographs taken of the event by threatening to expose a Page Six editor’s affair.
February 22: Hope Davis joins Succession
Davis will be playing the daughter of Logan’s biggest rival Sandy Furness. Her character, in what is perhaps the most telling nomenclature in all of character-naming history, is named Sandi. Logan and Sandy’s rivalry was riveting enough with Kendall and his ex-buddy Stewy panting at each of their feet, but with Kendall out of the picture and Sandy’s genetic offspring, who, lest you forget, has his same name but spelled with an I, joining his ranks, things are likely about to get very….Oedipal.
Unknown date: The ticker outside the Waystar-Royco building
While not a newcomer, the Waystar-Royco news ticker merits attention here as an integral part of the buzz-building process. Very Tall Man Nicholas Braun posted in March from outside 28 Liberty Street, the building used for the company office’s exterior shots, under a news ticker that previewed the following dystopian snippets: “Committing a hate crime via emoji” and “TikTok teen.” Ominous.
March 31: Knives Out 2 confirmed
Not to be outdone by another streaming service, Netflix confirmed two Knives Out sequels in March, both starring Daniel Craig, in one of the biggest streamer movie deals in history. Whether this will end up being a Matrix-style trilogy or a Bondian franchise, this team is certainly setting up for the long run.
April 25: Director/screenwriter Lorene Scafaria posts from Succession’s set
The second round of plot-twist reveals started when Lorene Scafaria, the writer and director of Hustlers, posted a photo from the set of Succession. This is likely not because her long-time partner Bo Burnham is side-gigging as a stunt double for Cousin Greg and likely because she is directing at least one episode. Which brings us to a humble suggestion: stunt-casting J-Lo?
May 3: Alexander Skarsgård joins Succession
The Succession announcements reached a fever pitch earlier this month with the reveal of Alexander Skarsgård, long-time HBO antagonist and purveyor of haunting haircuts, as Lukas Matsson, “a successful, confrontational tech founder and CEO.” There’s nothing like a new-moneyed, conceivably self-made enterpriser to bring the Roys’ existential crisis to the fore: being too rich for too long. There’s no way this guy isn’t going toe to toe with Logan Roy in an old-school-versus-new-school showdown. And in a Patagonia vest, no less.
May 5: Adrien Brody joins Succession
Skarsgård was swiftly followed by Adrien Brody, who was announced two days later to play a “billionaire activist investor” by the name of Josh Aaronson, who “becomes pivotal in the battle for ownership of Waystar.” Another way to look down on the Roys, as demonstrated by Cherry Jones last season: feeling morally superior. I cannot wait to see a crunched-up Brody lure all the Roys into an eco-retreat where each tries to prove their innate goodness to earn his financial blessing.
May 10: Dave Bautista joins Knives Out
Netflix stayed tight-lipped about the Knives Out sequel details until last week, when they kicked off a back-to-back-to-back-to-back casting extravaganza with Dave Bautista. No word yet on who any of the announced actors will be playing, but Bautista, who’s already faced off with Craig as a tertiary antagonist in Spectre, can certainly nail the off-kilter comedy after his Guardians of the Galaxy performance. Will he be a wealthy retired wrestler desperate to be accepted by the upper echelons of society? A playboy hotelier who made his name opening whodunnit-themed resort chains? The image of those giant WWE muscles under the finest Mediterranean linens on offer is just surreal enough to work.
May 11: Ed Norton joins Knives Out
The chaser to Bautista’s shot was Ed Norton, who seems like a shoo-in for Craig’s newest quirky sidekick. Perhaps a bumbling local detective on a small Greek island who’s covering up his involvement by posing as the village idiot—or an old trusted companion Benoit Blanc calls in to help him crack the case?
May 12: Janelle Monae joins Knives Out
Monae is a trickier nut to crack—she hasn’t done many comedic roles, especially not in the wry, self-serious Knives Out style, but if her “PYNK” costumes are any indication, she can do absurd. She feels primed to play a prissy billionaire’s granddaughter who’s constantly decked out in couture gowns, or, conversely, maybe a tight-lipped fisherman docking her boat for the week after disappearing amid a seafood industry scandal. She’d certainly rock that hat.
May 13: Kathryn Hahn joins Knives Out
Hahn feels like a solid successor to Jamie Lee Curtis’ steely matriarch role, but she’d just as likely absolutely nail a batty aunt who breeds boutique ponies and talks exclusively in riddles. The weirder they’ll let her go, the better.